Image source, EPAImage caption, Under the new measures, soldiers will patrol the streets in some of the worst-hit areas

A 60-day nationwide state of emergency has come into force in Ecuador.

The measure was announced by President Guillermo Lasso on Monday evening in response to a wave of violent crime.

Guillermo Lasso said police and the armed forces were being mobilised and their presence would be felt "with force" in the streets.

Official figures suggest the number of murders in the first eight months of this year are double those in the same period last year.

Speaking in a televised address, President Lasso said that under the emergency measures, the armed forces and police would carry out "arms checks, inspections, 24-hour patrols, and drug searches, among other actions".

The measure was introduced weeks after a prison fight in the port city of Guayaquil left 119 inmates dead.

Media caption, Relatives waited for news as police stormed the jail in Guayaquil

Analysts said the prison killings had probably been ordered from outside the jail, mirroring a power struggle between Mexican drug cartels currently under way in Ecuador.

They added that the deadly fight had highlighted the growing influence in Ecuador of the Mexican criminal organisations, which operate in the Andean country through local gangs.

Ecuador is a transit country for cocaine smuggled from neighbouring Peru and Colombia and much of the crime wave is thought to be drug-related.

"There's only one enemy in the streets of Ecuador and that's drug trafficking," President Lasso said on Monday.

He added that more than 70% of violent crimes in Guayas province – where the country's most populous city, Guayaquil, is located – where related to the drugs trade.